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Agriculture, Rural Development, Food And Drug Administration, And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008 --Continued--

Floor Speech

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Location: Washington, DC


AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008--Continued -- (House of Representatives - July 31, 2007)

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Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Madam Chairman, I rise today on the McHenry amendment, which would cut $100,000 from the USDA, the Department of Agriculture. $100,000, that is the equivalent to what the out-of-pocket costs will be if you have a 10 percent cut in Medicare Advantage for poor health seniors in my State.

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Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. I am trying to put what $100,000 means in perspective for people who may actually get hit with higher costs because of other policy changes coming down the road as part of this overall budget.

I would also point out to my friends on the Democratic side of the aisle that the Agriculture appropriations bill also contains in it language related to drug reimportation; and, indeed, that is an issue in this bill before this House at this time.

Certainly, if the Medicare Advantage plans are whacked in a rural district, then perhaps seniors may want to take advantage of that provision. I don't know. Because drug reimportation poses a whole set of different issues that can be problematic, if you have seen some of the polluted drugs coming in from China right now.

So that is an issue that concerns me. Because if they lose their Medicare Advantage coverage that may help them in that area, who knows what is left in terms of cuts in Medicare.

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Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I will try and confine my remarks more to the McHenry amendment, which, as we know, would cut $100,000 out of the Department of Agriculture.

Now, that $100,000 may not seem like a lot to many on this floor, but it may seem like a lot to a senior if they are going to lose their Medicare Advantage plan. But I know that is not the issue before us at this moment. The issue really is, how do you control spending in the Federal government?

I think one of the ways you control spending in the Federal government is through the McHenry amendment. Because the McHenry amendment reduces Federal spending by $100,000, which may not seem like a lot to some and they may not want us to talk about how it could be used in other programs that may come before this House at a different time in a different way. But certainly, if you were going to lose your Medicare, you would be concerned about you might save $100,000 here that could be used somewhere else so you did not have to raise taxes on, say, health insurance.

Saving $100,000 here is a good thing. It may not seem like a lot, but it is still a good thing. It reduces spending, and this government has had trouble reducing spending. We have spent a lot of time on this floor debating amounts that are even less than $100,000. I would like to see us go farther than that, because I also know in other committees there is debate going on about having to raise revenues to fund other programs.

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